Niger became independent from France in 1960 and experienced single-party and military rule until 1991, when Gen. Ali SAIBOU was forced by public pressure to allow multiparty elections, which resulted in a democratic government in 1993. Political infighting brought the government to a standstill and in 1996 led to a coup by Col. Ibrahim BARE. In 1999, BARE was killed in a counter coup by military officers who restored democratic rule and held elections that brought Mamadou TANDJA to power in December of that year. TANDJA was reelected in 2004 and in 2009 spearheaded a constitutional amendment allowing him to extend his term as president. In February 2010, military officers led a coup that deposed TANDJA and suspended the constitution. ISSOUFOU Mahamadou was elected in April 2011 following the coup and reelected to a second term in early 2016. Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world with minimal government services and insufficient funds to develop its resource base. The largely agrarian and subsistence-based economy is frequently disrupted by extended droughts common to the Sahel region of Africa. A Tuareg rebellion emerged in 2007 and ended in 2009. Niger is facing increased security concerns on its borders from various external threats including insecurity in Libya, spillover from the conflict in Mali, and violent extremism in northeastern Nigeria.
Western Africa, southeast of Algeria
uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, molybdenum, gypsum, salt, petroleum
Population - distribution
majority of the populace is located in the southernmost extreme of the country along the border with Nigeria and Benin
French (official), Hausa, Djerma
NIAMEY (capital) 1.09 million (2015)
- Conventional long form
- Republic of Niger
- Conventional short form
- Local long form
- Republique du Niger
- Local short form
- Geographic coordinates
- 13 31 N, 2 07 E
- Time difference
- UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Niger is a landlocked, sub-Saharan nation, whose economy centers on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world's largest uranium deposits. Agriculture contributes approximately 25% of GDP and provides livelihood for 87% of the population. The UN ranked Niger as the second least developed country in the world in 2016 due to multiple factors such as food insecurity, lack of industry, high population growth, a weak educational sector, and few prospects for work outside of subsistence farming and herding.
- External debt stocks
- US$ 2,891,867,000
- Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
- Real Interest Rate
- Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
- Current Account Balance
- US$ -1,150,273,170
- Labor Force, Total
- Employment in Agriculture
- Employment in Industry
- Employment in Services
- Unemployment Rate
- Imports of goods and services
- US$ 2,817,146,688
- Exports of goods and services
- US$ 1,226,938,225
- Total Merchandise Trade
- FDI, net inflows
- US$ 524,979,288
- Commercial Service Exports
- US$ 141,417,688
cowpeas, cotton, peanuts, millet, sorghum, cassava (manioc, tapioca), rice; cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, horses, poultry
uranium mining, petroleum, cement, brick, soap, textiles, food processing, chemicals, slaughterhouses
- uranium ore, livestock, cowpeas, onions
- France 52.7%, Nigeria 20.2%, China 13.7% (2015)
- foodstuffs, machinery, vehicles and parts, petroleum, cereals
- France 12.1%, China 10.6%, Nigeria 9.6%, French Polynesia 9.1%, Togo 6.2%, Belgium 5.4%, Cote dIvoire 5.3%, US 4.3% (2015)
- Country Risk Rating
- A very uncertain political and economic outlook and a business environment with many troublesome weaknesses can have a significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is high.
- Business Climate Rating
- The business environment is difficult. Corporate financial information is often unavailable and when available often unreliable. Debt collection is unpredictable. The institutional framework has many troublesome weaknesses. Intercompany transactions run major risks in the difficult environments rated C.
- World's fourth largest producer of uranium
- Net exporter of oil products
- Drive to invest in agriculture and infrastructure
- Economy vulnerable to climate shocks and commodity price fluctuations
- Landlocked country
- Rapid population growth and high level of poverty
- Deteriorating security situation
Despite the worsening security situation and a decline in commodity prices, growth strengthened in 2016 due to the recovery of activity in agriculture and in the oil sector (increase in production at the Zinder refinery). The outlook for growth remains favorable but is subject to the risks of climatic shocks and on commodity export prices, and to security tensions. Activity will, in particular, be sustained by the start of major infrastructure projects. The Export-Import Bank of China is expected to finance a certain number of these projects (train loop, Kao cement factory, Dosso sugar complex, Sakadalma coal mine, development along the coast of Niamey). Also planned are the start of road infrastructure projects and the construction of an oil pipeline to Chad and Cameroon, which should help increase production at the Agadem oilfield and crude exports. This project has however been delayed, as has that for the exploitation of the giant uranium mine at Imouraren, mothballed while waiting for market conditions to improve.
Despite its abundant resources and although some social indicators have improved, Niger remains one of the poorest countries in the world. It is bottom on the list of nations in terms of the Human Development Index (HDI). Only growth of about 7% a year would enable a noticeable reduction in poverty and unemployment. Meanwhile, the business climate has improved but there are still obstacles to the free circulation of goods and opaque practices are still deemed worrying by business circles.
Inflation, driven in large part by movements in food prices, is expected to remain below the WAEMU convergence criterion of 3%, thanks, in particular, to the price stabilization program.
The government's economic program is supported by an arrangement with the IMF (Extended Credit Facility), which was extended until the end of 2016. The authorities were committed, under this agreement, to adjust public accounts in 2016. Revenues, other than on natural resources, benefited from the steps taken to improve the collection of taxes and from the rebound in activity, while capital spending was cut. In the medium term, a special effort should be made to control current spending. The public debt level rose significantly with the implementation of structural projects and the clearing of domestic arrears. Future drawdowns, specifically under a framework agreement negotiated with China, could put pressure on the sustainability of this debt.
Exports, consisting mainly of commodities including uranium and refined oil products (50% of sales abroad), remain dependent on movements in world prices. The current account deficit remained high in 2016 in GDP terms. The fall in commodity prices was partly offset by a reduction in government investment spending and delays in the construction of the pipeline. Exports are unlikely to increase significantly in 2017, as the expected price improvement would be moderate. The trade deficit is compounded by the balance of services deficit (transport costs, imported services associated with extractive activities). In contrast, the surplus in the balance of transfers has grown in line with the increase in migrant workers' remittances. The country benefits from a not-insignificant flow of foreign direct investments, which are expected to grow from 2017 with the construction of the pipeline. In these conditions, the country's external position is expected to remain comfortable with foreign exchange reserves covering 4.5 months of imports of goods and services.
President Mahamadou Issoufou and his party, the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism, easily won the parliamentary and presidential elections held between February and March 2016. The opposition was divided - one of its components subsequently joined the ruling coalition - and one of its leaders was imprisoned before the poll.
The main risk continues to be the security context, which has become more precarious since the deterioration of the political situation in Mali, Nigeria and in Libya. The country needs to deal both with attacks by the Nigerian Boko Haram Islamist group in the south-east and those by Jihadist groups from Mali in the east. These attacks, which have led to an influx of refugees and displacement of populations, are disrupting cross-border trade and putting pressure on the budget. Moreover, the risk of abduction, targeting foreigners, remains high and sporadic clashes between nomadic herders and settled farmers in the center of the country are of great concern.